The several generations alive today have seen growing use of electricity. At home and work, electromagnetic fields (EMF) fill the air bouncing off materials, being absorbed, or passing through objects – including people. EMF detection has become a profession, and their best tool is the EMF survey. These assessments protect health in the home, at work, and for the public.
One hundred and fifty years ago, electricity use was limited – little more than a novelty. By one hundred years ago, the then developing world started a long march to electrification. Even in those days, science had discovered that electricity has associated magnetic properties.
Electromagnetism was understood for the “work” it could perform with electric generators and motors. Public street lighting was going up in major cities, homes were having electrical lighting and plugs installed, and manufacturers were making the first home electrical appliances.
Science tells us that EMFs do affect humans at the cellular level. Many studies of people exposed to high levels report a full range of symptoms. There is much apprehension in the science community, and investigations continue.
What is an EMF survey?
The first step to protect health is an EMF survey to know how much risk is involved. Modern homes are in a matrix of EMFs from home office computers, cell phones, household appliances and devices. Risks are unknown until a survey is performed. EMF detection is accomplished with a comprehensive and targeted approach. Then just outside the home, overhead power lines, cell phone masts and electrical pylons increase the detectable ambient waves. Electric and hybrid vehicles emit electromagnetic waves in a small space, and they should be part of the survey.
In business, at factories and many commercial spaces, EMF detection is taking on greater importance. EMF surveys are prudent and mandatory (see below).
Town and country planning often involves EMF detection. Electrical pylons are powerful electromagnetic emitters, and precautions are in order by local authorities. Cell phone masts are major emitters and receivers of radio waves – a type of electromagnetism. The masts generate strong waves that diminish with distance; cell phones have much less wave force but are close to your head and body.
A professional EMF survey involves instruments that measure and find the sources of electrical waves. The survey allows identification of the source of the waves, the level compared to currently agreed to health thresholds, and most importantly, customers receive an on-site summary detailing specifics; mitigation efforts and advice on lowering EMFs can then be planned.
Where there is electrical wiring, there are low-frequency EMFs present. These electric fields are in every house and building. Just the flow of electricity creates electromagnetic fields that diminish only with distance. Older buildings have looser connections, wires degraded from decades of use and unshielded cables. Low-frequency waves vary in newer homes and buildings depending on the quality of the electrical installation.
Most electric power in the UK flows at about 50 cycles per second (hertz) and at 240 volts. Compared to overhead powerlines, cell phone masts and electricity pylons, buildings have what some call low-frequency EMFs. Since electromagnetic waves diminish with distance, one primary consideration is how far one is from the source. Everyone living or working in a building is exposed, and outdoor workers are often exposed. Both high and low electric fields, depending on distance, can affect health equally, sometimes more or sometimes less.
Radio Frequency EMFs
We live in an electromagnetic environment, and human-made radio waves are part of the EMF picture. There are many industrial machines and devices that emit radio waves and microwave EMFs. Telecommunications, including television and radio broadcasts, are not alone in generating radio frequency (RF). In industry, many devices and machines produce RF waves. In medicine, diagnostic devices use magnetic resonation to peer into the human body. In daily life, we have cell phones, microwave ovens and fifth-generation wireless networking in combination – all increasing the RF load.
RF wave electromagnetic exposure is concerning – both to scientists and others. Studies are mounting regarding the impacts of RF on the general population.
EMF detection in commercial properties, UK regulations
“The EMFs at Work Regulations 2016” (CEMFAW) requires employers to assess EMF risks and make mitigations for employees. The regulation sets “exposure limit values” to protect employees and expects employers to “take action” when needed. After the EMF survey and assessment, companies must develop an action plan to lower electrical fields to within the allowed limits. Further, high-risk employees, for example, expectant mothers and people with medical devices, are due special consideration. The company must fully disclose the risks and actions to be implemented. And of course, there are outlined steps, complicated exceptions, and forms. More Information here.
How do you reduce EMF in your home?
An EMF detection survey will reveal electrical waves in every home. To lower exposure in many cases means lifestyle changes. People can put more distance from the television, a microwave, dishwasher and more. With the pandemic, the home office has come into greater use for many.
EMFs can be reduced by rearranging devices, electronics and computers. At the desk, one only needs the keyboard, monitor and mouse; to move printers, computers and routers to a greater distance longer cables can be used. Wi-fi devices should also be placed above head level to avoid line-of-sight radio waves. Consider using wi-fi less with more cables in use. A timer can be used to turn off wi-fi at night – as well as other devices.
Make sleeping areas safe zones by removing electronics altogether. Removing unnecessary entertainment media improves sleep and lowers night electrical waves. A hard-wired phone can be installed bedside for safety – leave the cell phone off. Battery operated clock alarms are much safer than cell phone alarms.
An EMF survey is far and above the best you can do to protect you and your family. Our many modern devices are a source of electrical waves, but only with a professional EMF detection specialist can we learn the full range of potential threats. Wiring in the walls, worn appliance motors and connections, the outside power lines, and cell phone masts are all of concern.